Professional Development Portfolio:
Outsider Art and Collage
by Bonnie Goldstein and Kathy Chapman, LS Art Teachers
|The Magic Garden
“Outsider Art includes folk art, visionary art and self-taught art. It is created outside the boundaries of “official” cultural institutions and often reflects uniquely personal narratives and insights.”
This summer, we participated in an amazing course that looked at outsider artists and the art of collage. Prior to this course, we had studied the works of the Gee Bends Quilters and the drawings and cardboard assemblages of an Outsider artist named James Castle. These artists had no formal training and made art as a means of self-expression, using only the limited materials that were available to them. This is what we understood to be Outsider Art, never thinking to include musicians and filmmakers.
Our task during the week was to create collage art, using found and personal images, drawing and painting. Every day we took walking trips to buy materials for the collages, as well a visit to the Magic Garden by local Artist, Isaiah Zagar, whose work is inspired by outsider, visionary, and folk artists. http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/ While working on collages, we listened to music by eccentric, visionary composers from the 1950’s and 1960’s: Moondog, Roky Erickson/ 13th Floor Elevators, and Sun Ra. We also viewed some bizarre, often disturbing films such as The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser by Werner Herzog.
The highlight of our week was the day spent in Baltimore visiting The American Visionary Art Museum. There were a number of interesting exhibits introducing us to a variety of Outsider Artists and art forms.
Get more information about the American Visionary Art Museum at www.avam.org.
The Professional Development Portfolio is a series of stories written by Shipley faculty members who have received funding from Shipley to pursue Professional Development opportunities.